Top 10 data and analytics conferences to attend in 2020
Data and analytics are permanent business fixtures, but how they are used is subject to constant change. The options on how data is consumed and analyzed seem endless, but each has specific advantages and disadvantages that must be learned.
Today’s conferences cover the gamut of the hottest issues, including cloud vs. distributed (edge or fog) computing, real-time streaming data vs. on-device analytics, and decisioning outputs vs. artificial intelligence-based automated actions.
These are complicated decisions for any company to make. And skill levels and technical understanding among staff vary widely, so every data and analytics conference cannot meet every need. Here’s a look at 10 top conferences and what they have to offer to help you narrow the field and decide which you and your peers need to attend in 2020. Because there is no universal “best” conference for everyone, the listings in this guide are ordered by date rather than rating.
Chief Data & Analytics Officer Exchange
Dates and location: Jan. 26-28, 2020, Phoenix
Cost: Request an invite; cost revealed on acceptance
This event is aimed at senior-level decision-makers—primarily chief data and analytics officers, chief data officers, and chief analytics officers—but other executives are also typically invited. It’s a closed, invitation-only event, which helps keep the audience on a peer-to-peer level.
You can request an invitation on the event website. If and when an invitation is extended to you, the organizers will also tell you the price. The one-on-one meetings are between an executive and a vendor, by the way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given vendors tend to be light-years ahead in learning new technologies and processes and are thus uniquely positioned to share a lot of useful information. They also tend to have the advantage of witnessing what works and what doesn’t in the real world.
True peer-to-peer networking is plentiful and includes the CDAO Exchange. Key sessions this year include:
- Operationalizing Analytics and Liberating Data Science Teams
- Creating a 360 View of the Consumer Through Alternative Data Sources
- Conceptualizing and Implementing Data-Drive Revenue Streams in Legacy Organizations
- Crafting an Explainable Data Narrative Through Data Visualization and Augmented Reality
Data Fest 2020
Dates and location: March 9-20, 2020, multiple venues across Scotland
Cost: Up to £256.19 (US$337)
For the past several years, ever since big data hit the business scene at least, the focus has been on letting data drive business decisions. But this event plans to flip that model to mining data for the specific good of a company, organization, community, or humanity.
In essence, the “Beyond Data” theme is putting human benefit in charge of driving data initiatives, rather than subjecting humans to the cold calculations of machines alone. This is likely good news to everyone from executives to employees who ever chafed at having their talent pushed aside and for customers who find machine-provided options too limited or unimaginative.
While this conference actually encompasses six different events held across Scotland, it is an international affair for those who want to take a hands-on and meaningful approach to putting data and analytics to work for a common good and with a decidedly human flavor.
Strata Data Conference
Dates and location: March 15-18, 2020, San Jose, California
Cost: $2,345 for Gold pass, $1,945 for Silver pass, and $1,545 for Bronze pass; discounts available for government, nonprofit, alumni, and company teams
This event is organized by publishing powerhouse O’Reilly. It launched in 2012 as Strata + Hadoop World and continues to evolve. In 2020, the Strata Data and AI Conferences will be colocated, since data and AI are so deeply intertwined now.
The audience is broad and typically includes data scientists, engineers, analysts, and business managers. Pick your tracts and sessions accordingly.
Interestingly, it’s one of very few conferences that is publicly dedicated to diversity and inclusion. It demonstrates its commitment every year via a Diversity & Inclusion scholarship program, a nursing room, all-gender restroom access, and childcare expenses reimbursements.
In any iteration, this conference is a nuts-and-bolts conference that tackles the hard and grueling daily work data scientists, data managers, and data enthusiasts of all stripes do every day. In other words, this conference is less about peering into the future via a crystal ball and more about which tool to use to fix a problem in the here and now.
Therefore, the topics don’t sound glamorous, but they are realistic and necessary. They include architecture, governance, integration and processing, data quality and management, machine learning model development, security, and streaming and IoT.
Gartner Data and Analytics Summit 2020
Dates and location: March 23-26, 2020, Grapevine, Texas
Cost: $3,150 to $3,700
This is one of the more expensive conferences on data and analytics. Attendees learn from Gartner’s best analysts and spend time networking with peers. Both approaches serve to cut through myths, misinformation, and marketing buzz to reveal insights gathered from deployments and trends in the real world.
This year’s topics include strategies, governance and trust, trends, IoT, customer analytics, AI and machine learning, developing a data-driven culture, self-service data and analytics, and the roles of chief data officers and chief analytics officers.
Enterprise Data World
Dates and location: March 22-27, 2020, San Diego
Cost: $995 to $3,395
This educational event has been around for 24 years now, all the while following and teaching all things data since the early days of data processing and before big data went big. It aims to bring technical knowledge and future-looking trends to day-to-day practitioners who have little tolerance for marketing buzz and even less patience for things that don’t get the job done.
Tracks include data strategy, governance and stewardship, data architecture, data literacy, blockchain, data engineering, modeling, metadata management, database technologies, information quality, business intelligence, analytics, data science, big data, and AI and machine learning.
This conference has highly focused sessions but also on-site certification and testing. It’s a great conference for those who mean to walk away with new, marketable data skills and the certifications to prove it.
Marketing Analytics and Data Science
Dates and location: March 31–April 2, 2020, San Francisco
Cost: $1,845 to $2,445
More widely known as the MADS conference, this event centers on data and analytics in marketing. But that doesn’t mean it’s just for marketers, as there are also tracks for professionals working in data science and analytics, R&D, and operations. No matter the job title or skill level, the end goal for attendees is the same: to learn how to better pull insights and trends from data quickly and profitably.
As you might expect, the topics are much different at this conference than others on this list. Some examples are driving revenue and customer value with data, marketing attribution and measurement, convergence of machine learning and marketing, and trends, tools and techniques.
The session formats are a little different, too. Instead of endless speeches and presentations, these sessions are in the form of collaborative workshops, case studies, and roundtable discussions.
If your goal is to learn how to use data to improve customer experience, develop and maintain brand loyalty, and drive sales and revenue through marketing, then this is your jam.
Open Data Science Conference
Dates and location: April 13-17, 2020, Boston
Cost: $299 to $1329
This conference is all about the data science community rather than any given industry or topic. Here, the data science community gathers for in-person networking and to learn from one another. And that community is quite large. This is one of the largest applied data science conferences in the world.
Because the event focuses on data science for a community that works in data science, the focus areas, topics, and tool discussions are very technical and of interest to both open source and open science communities. Speakers are often of the living-legend ilk. For example, Kirk Borne, former astrophysicist at NASA and professor of astrophysics and computational science at George Mason University, and currently principal data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, was one of many notable speakers.
Even though the 2020 agenda is not yet finalized, it’s almost a given that the level of excellence this conference is known for will continue this year.
Dates and location: May 19-20, 2020, Boston
Cost: $1,395 for all-access pass; two-day, workshop, boot camp, summit, and showcase passes and early-bird discounts available
This conference typically has two types of attendees: data analysts and executives who are interested in the latest in business intelligence, analytics, and business strategies; and data scientists, administrators, and managers looking for technical deep dives on a variety of data and analytics topics.
The 2020 agenda for this conference includes several interesting sessions, such as Building the Data-Driven Future, Competing on Analytics, Digital Transformation, and Moving to a Modern Data Architecture. In addition, there are several other satellite activities happening at the same time, including the Data Lake Bootcamp, the DataOps Bootcamp, the AI and Machine Learning Summit, and the Data Solutions Showcase.
It’s a well-organized, well-attended conference that covers a lot of ground. For this one, it’s best to plan ahead to make sure you get to everything you intended to, as there’s just too much going on to catch it all.
Dates and location: May 7-8, 2020, San Francisco
Cost: $1,050 and up
This conference is all about data science in the real world, ranging from tested data strategies to how to deploy them through the use of specific technologies and human leadership. This is a down-to-earth conference that curates knowledge and experience on AI and data science from academia to leading brands.
But there is plenty of intellectual exploration of the future of data science and analytics in business as well. You’ll find sessions and discussions on everything from novel AI applications to future musings, alongside plenty of day-to-day problem solving and how-to talks.
The 2020 agenda is not yet finalized, but the event traditionally presents over 100 speakers from well-known organizations.
Applied AI Summit
Dates and location: Nov. 12-13, 2020, Seattle
This summit is colocated with the AI for Good Summit, both of which are hidden gems, in my opinion. Nearly everyone has come to understand that AI is now deeply intertwined and inseparable from data and analytics going forward. However, few actually understand how AI works or how quickly it is evolving. Most companies just rely on whatever AI is built in various software by the vendors. This summit will go far in providing the education you need to truly learn AI in your organization.
As the name suggests, this event provides hard-hitting, deeply technical information. Sample sessions include Success Factors for AI Business Models; Putting AI and Deep Learning to Work: Practical Tools; Advanced Algorithms to Evolve Organizations: Benefits of a Changing IT Infrastructure; Computational Resources and New Models; and Implementing AI at Scale—and all of that is before lunch on the first day!
If you’re serious about using data to create a unique and competitive edge for your company and a better world for humans, check out both of these summits and get your AI game on!
Did we miss any conferences or events?
Without question, it’s worth your time to attend one of these conferences. That’s true whether you’re an expert in the field or someone wanting to break in. There is a shortage of data scientists, and that shortage is expected to continue unabated for the foreseeable future. Companies are happy to see people at beginner-level conferences as much as at advanced conferences because they’re glad to see more people joining the career field and more business leaders becoming data savvy.
We worked hard to bring you the best conferences and events on IoT based on the freshness and usefulness of content as well as the best networking opportunities. But if we missed a conference or event you find useful for any reason, please share that info with us on Twitter at @enterprisenxt.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.